How you'll feel about Lysandre, the solo debut of former Girls frontman Christopher Owens, will depend on a couple things.
First of all, do you like musicals? Lysandre is a concept album that tells the story of the first Girls tour and a French woman named Lyrsandre whom Owens fell in love with. The record is so rooted in its concept that it feels like a musical soundtrack. “Lysandre's Theme,” a flute and classical guitar melody that sounds like chamber music, pops in and out between songs. For the song in which Girls heads out on tour, Owens included a recording of a stewardess giving the standard pre-flight speech and the sound of a plane taking off (that will immediately make you think of “Back In The U.S.S.R.”). Then there's the directness of the lyrics, like “I fell in love with you on the first tour with my band” on “Everywhere You Knew.”
Second question: Which Girls song do you like better? “Vomit” or “Saying I Love You”? Lysandre is much, much more like the latter. The music is gentle -- remember, we're dealing with flutes and classical guitar -- and the tone is mostly happy. Even when things go wrong, Owens sounds like he's at least glad to have the experiences. This comes closest to downright crazy on “New York City,” as he and a female backup singer harmonize chipperly through “I remember begging my best friend for my life.”
Speaking of that song, do you like a little saxophone? Because a honking sax makes a few appearances on the album, most notably on “New York City,” sounding sassy, and later, unhinged.
Last question. What kind of mood are you in? This record will either seem delightfully odd or crazy and grating. Proceed only with a good-natured willingness to accept the absurd.